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Study for La Musique

Berthe Morisot

European Art

In the last years of her life, the Impressionist painter Berthe Morisot began to devote her art almost entirely to depictions of her daughter, Julie. Here, Julie is seen coming into a room where her cousin Jeanine plays the piano. This drawing, in which the two figures are fully realized in a complex space in broad, economical strokes of charcoal, is related to several paintings the artist made of the two girls playing music together. Morisot experiments with Julie’s head in two positions—facing her cousin and looking down—suggesting a moment unfolding in time.

Titus Kaphar: The world that was given to many of the women in that time was small. The spaces in which they could participate were limited. The compositions that they made reflected those limitations.
MEDIUM Charcoal on laid paper
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1893
    DIMENSIONS 17 5/16 × 16 1/16 in. (44 × 40.8 cm) frame: 29 1/8 × 23 × 1 7/8 in. (74 × 58.4 × 4.8 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Stamped lower right; sketch in charcoal of the profile of a woman on the verso (similar to the seated woman on the recto)
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Mrs. Carl L. Selden
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Berthe Morisot (French, 1841–1895). Study for La Musique, 1893. Charcoal on laid paper, 17 5/16 × 16 1/16 in. (44 × 40.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Carl L. Selden, 1991.160 (Photo: , 1991.160_PS9.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 1991.160_PS9.jpg., 2019
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